The Arnside Bore

Duration:2 hours or less

About every month, Arnside battens down the hatches and prepares itself for a tidal wave – the Arnside Bore. The Bore is a tidal phenomenon, which occurs in relatively few locations worldwide, and is caused by the leading edge of the incoming tide being forced through a narrowing bay causing a wave against the direction of the bay’s current. Hence, the Arnside Bore is a true tidal wave – although this shouldn’t be confused with a tsunami!

The Arnside bore is caused by a combination of the high tidal range and the shape of the bay which narrows into the Kent Esturary at Arnside. The size of the bore wave can be quite hard to predict, ranging from a few centimetres to almost a metre high! To give yourself the best chance of seeing an impressive bore wave, make sure you visit during a predicted tide of 9.5m or more, or preferably a Spring tide. If you can combine this with recent rain in the lakes and a strong westerly wind, then you are sure to be onto a winner!

Arnside is probably the best place to watch the bore because, not only to is there a small pier, but South Lakeland District Council also provide a seasonal siren, to warn of the incoming tide. The siren is sounded twice before each daylight high tide, the first time roughly 15 to 20 minutes before the tidal bore is due (it is not an exact science). The second siren is sounded as the bore reaches Blackstone Point (New Barns), which is just further down the bay.

Further Information

Even if your visit isn’t timed well for a bore wave, Arnside is still worth a visit for a bit of bird spotting. The mud flats and shallow water provide rich feeding for birds such as Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Knots, Herons, Shelducks and many more! The National Trust car Park at Arnside Knott, is a short walk back to the village and the pier, but parking in the village can be quite hard on sunny days, and it’s a nice walk anyway!

This webpage gives information about the local tides. Remember to look for a particularly high tide.

By Sam Sharples

I work as an Assistant Ranger across the extremely diverse South and East Cumbria and Morecambe Bay area. Due to the wide ranging habitats that we look after, my job is extremely diverse - one day I might be repairing a wall overlooking a sea cliff and the next, I could be coppicing in ancient woodland, 50 miles from the sea, creating habitats for birds and insects.

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How to get here

Arnside Knott Car Park

United Kingdom

Ordnance Survey OL7
The English Lakes
South Eastern area

SD 448 774

Get Directions

Arnside has excellent train and bus connections. Trans-pennine express operate a train service that runs between Barrow and Lancaster or Manchester and occasionally Liverpoool. Northern Line also run a service that continues beyond Barrow and eventually reaches Carlisle.

The Stagecoach 552 bus service connects Arnside to Kendal